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November 11, 2008

Road to the Championship: Texoma

TEXOMA BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

4A -DI Sherman (8-2) vs. Richardson Pearce (5-5)

Where have you heard this before? A pair of high-powered offenses will take the field when Sherman takes on Pearce in a Class 4A Division I Region II bi-district game at Wildcat/Ram Stadium in Richardson Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Sherman is coming off a 34-17 loss to rival Denison in a game that decided the 9-4A title. Both of Sherman's losses are to undefeated teams Denison and Rockwall-Heath. The Bearcats are averaging a shade more than 45 points per game behind an attack led by Waymon James, who has 1,730 yards and 25 touchdowns.

But Sherman is coming off its worst offensive performance of the season, scoring its fewest points by 10, and James was held to a season-low 60 yards on 16 carries. The Bearcats have had trouble stopping good to very good running backs all season long.

Pearce defeated Newman Smith, 50-39, in the regular season finale to clinch the last playoff spot in District 10-4A. The Mustangs closed the season with a pair of wins and scored at least 49 points in their last four.

Pearce quarterback Caleb Lewis led Pearce to the clinching victory, completing 17-of-25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns while running for another. Madison Kvapil ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns to lead the balanced attack.

Winner: SHERMAN

4A- DII Denison (10-0) vs. Royse City (7-3)

A pair of high-powered offenses will take the field when Denison takes on Royse City in a Class 4A Division II Region II bi-district game at SMU's Ford Stadium Friday night at 7:30 p.m. These two schools scrimmaged at Denison before the regular season.

Denison, in the playoffs after a two-year absence, capped its undefeated regular season with a 34-17 victory over rival Sherman in the 110th meeting between the two schools. The victory gave Denison the District 9-4A title. D.J. Jones went over the 2,000-yard mark, finishing the game with 291 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and he returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score. Quarterback Jordan Taylor returned after missing four games with a broken collarbone and had a touchdown run for the Jackets in preparation for the playoffs.

Royse City has been great recent playoff success in 3A and will look for more of the same in its first season as a 4A team. The Bulldogs, coming off a 48-0 win over R.L. Turner, finished as the third-place team in 10-4A behind Rockwall-Heath and Highland Park but Royse City could very well be undefeated also.

The Bulldogs lost by a possession to Frisco Wakeland and were even with Heath midway through the fourth quarter. But it was a three-point loss at Highland Park that heaped plenty of attention on Arizona commit Richard Morrison. The quarterback had 500 total yards 209 rushing, 291 passing and six total touchdowns against the Scots.

Winner: DENISON

3A- DII Celina (7-3) vs. Van Alstyne (7-3)

The defending state champions look to rebound from a down regular season while a surprising playoff participant takes to the field for the first time in three seasons as Celina faces Van Alstyne in a Class 3A Division II Region II bi-district game at Frisco ISD Stadium Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Celina clinched the top seed out of 9-3A with a 35-13 victory over Argyle to close out the regular season. The Bobcats head to the playoffs on a three-game win streak where they looked like last year's state champs as opposed to earlier this season. It was a balanced attack that socked Argyle 203 yards rushing, 191 yards passing as Cody Worrell threw a touchdown pass and ran into two scores.

Van Alstyne was a 2-8 team a season ago and had a huge turnaround in 2008. The Panthers went into the season finale with a chance to clinch the district title and the top seed out of 10-3A with a victory over Paris. But Paris came away with the 55-21 win and the avoidance of Celina, something Van Alstyne had hoped as well. Senior quarterback Jake Willingham has been at the front of Van Alstyne's offensive surge and scored all three touchdowns against Paris two touchdown runs and a pass to Solomon Biscarro and was 11-of-19 for 239 yards.

Winner: CELINA

2A -DI Gunter (9-1) vs. Prairiland (9-1)

Two teams with identical records and pretty good defenses meet when Gunter takes on Prairiland in a Class 2A Division I Region II bi-district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Royse City.

Gunter closed out the regular season with its sixth shutout of the year, a 56-0 victory over Whitewright in which it allowed just 61 total yards. The District 11-2A champion has given up 60 points in 10 games and just 32 in the final nine after a season-opening 28-0 loss to Caddo Mills. The Tigers have a balanced rushing attack with Jordan Foster and Leo Castorena sharing carries with quarterback Paul Nicholson.

Prairiland had a chance to finish the regular season with a perfect record and the 12-2A championship but came up one possession short in a 29-22 loss to Omaha Paul Pewitt. The Patriots were down 21-0 in the second quarter but fought their way back into the game on a pair of touchdown runs by Randal Sessums and another by Payne Schuelke. Cade White leads Prairiland's offense with a little more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Winner: GUNTER

2A -DI Callisburg (6-4) vs. Paradise (10-0)

Two good offenses will square off when Callisburg takes on Paradise in a Class 2A Division II Region II bi-district game Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Saginaw.

Callisburg clinched the final playoff spot out of District 10-2A with a 49-7 victory over S&S in the regular season finale. Quarterback Thor Long again led the way for the Wildcats, who held a 35-0 half-time lead and scored all of their points before S&S's only touchdown in the final two minutes. Long completed 16-of-20 passes for 323 yards and had three touchdown passes and three touchdown runs.

Paradise, in the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years, ended a perfect regular season and the 9-2A title with a 37-14 victory over Alford, matching the school-record for victories in a season which was done in 2001. P. J. Fuller threw two touchdown passes and Michael Brown ran for two scores in the victory.

Winner: PARADISE

2A- DII Pilot Point (8-1) vs. Boyd (5-5)

One of last year's favorites takes on one of this year's favorites as Pilot Point faces Boyd in a Class 2A Division I Region II bi-district game at Justin Northwest Thursday at 7 p.m.

Pilot Point ended District 10-2A play undefeated with a 41-16 victory over Aubrey. Jarman Johnson had 116 yards on 10 carries while Nathan Riegel caught a pair of touchdown passes from Seth Tilley, who added a touchdown run. The only hiccup for the Bearcats came in a 7-6 loss to Sanger after Pilot Point had a game canceled because of Hurricane Ike. Outside of that, the Bearcats have looked like the team many thought would compete for a state title after dropping from 3A.

Boyd broke a two-game losing streak with a season-ending win over Millsap. The Yellowjackets need the victory not just for some positive momentum heading into the postseason but to lock up a playoff spot, otherwise there would have been a three-way tie with Millsap and Alvord.

Winner: PILOT POINT

2A- DII Pottsboro (9-1) vs. Jacksboro (6-4)

One steady program takes on a team that has righted the ship late in the season to make the playoffs as Pottsboro faces Jacksboro in a Class 2A Division II Region II bi-district game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Denton's C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

Pottsboro closed out the regular season with a 34-6 victory over Valley View behind 150 yards and two touchdowns from Adrian Dabrio. The Cardinals are a senior-laden team led by Dabrio, quarterback Blake Towery and receiver Terry Land. Pottsboro's only loss is by six points to Pilot Point.

Jacksboro enters the playoffs on a four-game win streak, losing only to Paradise in 9-2A action. The common thread in each of the Tigers' losses is a lack of offense. Jacksboro was shut out in back-to-back games and didn't score more than 15 points in the other two defeats.

Winner: POTTSBORO

2A- DII Melissa (9-1) vs. DeKalb (5-5)

The only rematch from last year's playoffs involving a team in the area will take place when Melissa takes on DeKalb in a Class 2A Division II Region II bi-district game at 7 p.m. at Royse City. DeKalb defeated Melissa, 43-29, in the area round last season.

Melissa continued to flex its offensive muscles in a season-ending 61-20 victory over Howe. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a 47.5 points per game average and that's with the only team to slow them down Gunter holding them to seven points in their only loss. Quarterback Zach Williams runs the show. The four-year starter went over 10,000 total yards a few weeks back.

DeKalb held off Clarksville, 17-14, after taking a 17-0 lead in the season-finale to make the playoffs; otherwise Clarksville was headed to the postseason with a win. The Bears won two straight games in district after alternating wins and losses in the first five games to start the season. DeKalb has scored more than 28 points more than once.

Winner: MELISSA

2A- DII Tom Bean (8-2) vs. Paul Pewitt (8-2)

A team ending on a roll takes on a team that is scuffling when Omaha Paul Pewitt faces Tom Bean in a Class 2A Division II Region II bi-district game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Greenville.

Tom Bean made a huge leap during the past two seasons. The Tomcats were 0-10 two years ago and won just two games last season. It has been a season of one-point victories four in all for Tom Bean that helped them earn the final playoff spot in 10-2A, but the Tomcats almost lost to winless Bells, 28-22, to end the regular season. Hunter Hendry had three touchdown runs, including one that made it 22-20 with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter. On Bells' first play of the ensuing possession, Colten Miller returned a fumble 38 yards for the game-winning score.

Paul Pewitt finished its season with a dramatic 29-22 victory over Prairiland to capture the 12-2A title. Pewitt survived when a fourth-down pass went off a receiver's fingertips in the end zone in the closing moments. Neither team had any passing yardage all 632 yards were gained on the ground. D.J. Burleson scored three rushing touchdowns and had 120 yards for Pewitt, which carries an eight-game winning streak into the playoffs after opening the year with losses to Arp and Daingerfield.

Winner: PAUL PEWITT

1A- DI Collinsville (6-3) vs. Quinlan Boles (10-0)

An undefeated, state-ranked team takes on a team that made the playoffs in its final game as Quinlan Boles faces Collinsville in a Class 1A Division I Region II bi-district game at Texas A&M-Commerce Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Collinsville not only earned a share of the District 13-A title with a 21-14 victory over Lindsay, it kept the Pirates out of a three-way tie for second place and potentially missing the playoffs. Ethan Williams had two touchdown runs and Mitch Lawdermilk rank in a touchdown as Collinsville held off Lindsay's final two touchdowns for the victory.

Quinlan Boles, ranked No. 7 in 1A, finished off an undefeated regular season with a 34-27 victory over Wolfe City to claim the 14-A district title. It was by far the closest game the Hornets have had this season before that a 21-point victory was the lowest margin in a win. It was also the first time Boles had scored fewer than 40 points in a game and in four other 14-A games the Hornets had allowed just six points.

Winner: QUINLAN BOLES

1A- DII Wolfe City (5-5) vs. Muenster (5-5)

This will be a rematch from earlier in the season when Wolfe City (5-5) takes on Muenster in a Class 1A Division II Region II bi-district contest at Whitesboro Friday at 7:30 p.m. Muenster won, 35-19, during the fourth week of the season.

Wolfe City closed out the regular season by giving state-ranked Quinlan Boles its toughest game of the season, 34-27, in a game that decided the 14-A champion. The Wolves started the season by losing four of their first five but took advantage of a fresh start in district play, losing only to Boles to close the season. Wolfe City is led by a pair of strong runners in James King and Dondre Wright.

Muenster pulled out a 27-20 victory over Era in the regular season finale to earn the final playoff spot in 13-A, otherwise Era was heading to the playoffs. The Hornets, who won just one game last season, lost three straight to start the year. Their two losses in district were by a combined eight points.

Winner: WOLFE CITY

1A- DII Celeste (6-4) vs. Lindsay (6-4)

One team heads to the playoffs on a disappointing note while the other arrives after a must-win game as Lindsay faces Celeste in a Class 1A Division II Region II bi-district game at Aubrey Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Celeste defeated Cumby, 34-20, in a loser-goes-home, winner-moves-on game to close out District 14-A action. The Blue Devils opened the season with losses to Era and Leonard, went on a three-game win streak before losing to the top two teams Boles and Wolfe City in 14-A and then closed the schedule on another three-game win streak. Running back Fritz Vale leads the offense while Justin Wright is the team's quarterback.

Lindsay lost its chance at an outright District 13-A title when it lost to Collinsville, 21-14, to share the crown with the Pirates. The Knights had already locked up the top seed in the small-school bracket, however. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Lindsay, which opened the season by losing to Tom Bean and Windthorst. The Knights had a last-second pass knocked down to keep the game from overtime.

Winner: LINDSAY

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